AC/DC have spoken officially for the first time following the recent media storm surrounding the health of guitarist Malcolm Young.

A message on their official Facebook page reads as follows:

"After forty years of life dedicated to AC/DC, guitarist and founding member Malcolm Young is taking a break from the band due to ill health. Malcolm would like to thank group's diehard legions of fans worldwide for their never-ending love and support.

In light of this news, AC/DC asks that Malcolm and his family's privacy be respected during this time. The band will continue to make music."

There was no official statement as to the nature of Young's ill health, with everything from dementia and blood clots being mooted in the media. 

It's also interesting to note that AC/DC intend to keep making music as a band, where they will presumably draft in a replacement - with Malcolm's nephew Stevie Young being one of the frontrunners, having previously guested for the rock legends in the past. Brian Johnson, the band's singer, has stated that the band intend to go on a 40-date tour this year to mark their 40 years together as a band.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Johnson said: "We are definitely getting together in May in Vancouver. We're going to pick up some guitars, have a plonk, and see if anybody has got any tunes or ideas. If anything happens, we'll record it."

As for Malcolm Young's health, Johnson remained tight-lipped (though it should be noted that the quote was taken prior to the official AC/DC statement on the matter), saying: "I wouldn't like to say anything either way about the future. I'm not ruling anything out. One of the boys has a debilitating illness, but I don't want to say too much about it. He is very proud and private, a wonderful chap. We've been pals for 35 years and I look up to him very much."